Violence in KwaZulu-Natal

In the decade from 1985 to 1995, thousands of people died during violence in the Midlands region of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).  Thousands more were injured, rendered homeless or became refugees.  Anthea Jeffery, in her book The Natal Story: Sixteen years of conflict (1997), and John Aitchison in his thesis Numbering the dead: the course and pattern of political violence in the Natal Midlands: 1987-1989 (1993), attempt to unravel the multitude of possible causes which have been put forward.
 
The most commonly accepted view is that the violence took place between members of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the members of the African National Congress (ANC).  Each accused the other of creating 'no-go areas' in KZN - areas controlled by one group and out-of-bounds to the other.  The IFP alleged that by May 1995, 84 areas were 'no-go' to its supporters.  The ANC claimed that the entire area north of the Tugela river (the old Zululand) had become out-of-bounds to ANC supporters  (Jeffery 1997).

However, it is a far more complex picture than this, involving environmental factors such as housing shortages and the growth of shack settlements; poor social conditions; poor economic circumstances; political factors; faction fighting, especially in the Msinga region; and ease of availability of firearms (Jeffery 1997).  Added to these factors are high transport costs, leading to bus-boycotts; the role of town councillors in black local authorities; conflict between Inkatha and the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the trade union movement; school unrest and boycotts; the rise of vigilante groups and several other factors (Aitchison 1993).

 
Further information on this complex and vexing issue can be found at the Alan Paton Centre in the following collections:
 
MANUSCRIPT COLLECTIONS :  

PC 21  Midlands Information Centre Resources Unit (MICRU) 1985-1989
PC 53  Peace in Natal (PIN) 1990-1993
PC 106
 Imbali Support Group 1989-1992
PC 126  Natal Room Collection - Newspaper clippings 1985-1993
PC 14   John Aitchison collection - includes information on 'Seven Day War' in Pietermaritzburg, 1987

 ORAL HISTORY COLLECTION:

95 APB 10 Samuel Mchunu 
98 APB 4  Michael Worsnip   
98 APB 8  Goodenough Bongi Ntombela 
98 APB 10  Monika Wittenberg 
98 APB 14  Radley Keys 
98 APB 19  Pauline Stamford 
99 APB 19  Colleen Vietzen 


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